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Take a Walk 200/300/600 - Saturday 15 September 2012

Tom Carment was one of five riders who chose the 200km option of Take a Walk, the "Bumble Hill Hike". Below is the story of his day...

hh02tomOn Saturday morning I dropped behind the others after a few kilometres, deciding to roll along at my own pace, which is what I enjoy, daydreaming, enjoying the scenery.

I'm glad you put in the warning about the two-lane roundabout before Wyong because it was pretty hectic, and I sprinted through when a chance came. It was a relief to hit the calm of Yarramalong Valley Road.

Right at the start of it I saw a man squatting on the left, hitchhiking. He was small and thin, with a long grey beard. He wore a long red beanie and had on a green jumper. He put his thumb down when I rolled past and didn't respond to my friendly wave.

Twenty kilometres later, on the bottom slope of Bumble Hill I saw him again, waiting in the shade, up ahead. Going slower now, I could see the he was grasping one of those hospital X-ray envelopes. I waved again, but he just stared across the road.

I paced myself up the hill and managed the steep grades at the end without having to get off the bike. I turned left at the servo at Kulnura and a kilometre further on, there was the man in the red beanie again, this time on the western side of the road. I figured he was heading down to the Wollombi Valley. I didn't bother waving again.

I arrived at Mangrove Mountain and the girl in the General Store told me that a cyclist had been through two hours before. Wow. That would have been Ricky.

I rolled on through Peats Ridge where fields on the right were full of russet orange "whiskey grass" - so-called, I've been told, because it seeded itself, over a hundred years ago, from the straw that lined the wooden crates of bottles from Scotland. Between Calga and Mt White there were lots of bright yellow, pink and purple wildflowers all along the sandstone road cutting.

I arrived, not too wrecked, at Olive's just before dark. A really enjoyable trip.


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